ShareThis Page
WVU

WVU at No. 2 in BCS standings

| Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007

NEW YORK - Missouri and West Virginia have one more step to take before bumping into each other in New Orleans.

The Tigers and Mountaineers hold the top two spots in the Bowl Championship Series standings released Sunday with a week left in a topsy-turvy regular season.

The Tigers play Oklahoma (10-2) in the Big 12 championship game at San Antonio on Saturday and the Mountaineers face rival Pittsburgh (4-7) at home. If both win, it'll be Missouri-West Virginia in a most unlikely BCS championship game Jan. 7 at the Superdome.

A month ago, neither team was even in the top five of the BCS standings, but a string of upsets have left Chase Daniel and the Tigers and Pat White and the Mountaineers in control of their own destinies.

"I've been telling the guys, the more you win, the more that's at stake," West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said Sunday in a conference call with reporters.

If either Missouri (11-1) or West Virginia (10-1) trip up next week, third-place Ohio State (11-1) is poised to take advantage and play in its second straight title game.

If the Tigers and Mountaineers both lose, the national title picture gets very murky.

Georgia was fourth in the standings, followed by Kansas (11-1). Neither will play in their conference title games, but both still have a shot to play for a national championship.

Georgia (10-2) could become the first team with two losses to play for a national title and several other two-loss teams could make a claim to be in the championship game if the top two lose for a second consecutive week.

Sixth-place Virginia Tech (10-2), seventh-place LSU (10-2), eighth-place Southern California (9-2) and ninth-place Oklahoma all have one last opportunity to surge up the BCS standings on Saturday.

Ohio State's regular season ended Nov. 17 with a victory over Michigan that made the Buckeyes the Big Ten champions. The week before, Ohio State was No. 1 in the country when it lost to Illinois at home and seemingly fell out of the title race.

At worst, the Buckeyes, who lost the national championship game 41-14 to Florida last season, will be in the Rose Bowl.

Hawaii moved up to 12th in the standings after beating Boise State 39-27 and winning the Western Athletic Conference, putting Colt Brennan and the Warriors in position to earn an automatic BCS bid.

The Warriors, the last remaining unbeaten team in the nation, finish the season at home against Washington and need to be in the top 12 when the final standings come out next Sunday.

Missouri was No. 1 in the Harris poll and West Virginia was No. 1 in the USA Today coaches' poll Sunday. Those polls make up a two-thirds of a team's BCS average. Missouri was first in the computer rankings with West Virginia second.

The Tigers' BCS average was .978 and the Mountaineers were at .971.

A Missouri-West Virginia final seemed to be a long shot when October ended. Both had a loss and were stuck behind a pile of teams in the BCS standings. On Oct. 28, West Virginia was seventh in the standings and Missouri was ninth.

Since then it's been a steady climb as the Tigers and Mountaineers have kept winning while the other contenders have tanked.

It started when Ohio State lost to Illinois on Nov. 10. A few days later, Oregon lost quarterback Dennis Dixon to an injury in the first quarter and the Ducks' national title hopes went with him in a loss at Arizona.

Two days later, Oklahoma lost its second game of the season at Texas Tech, leaving Missouri and Kansas as the Big 12's best hope for a national title.

At that point, it became apparent that the winner of the Missouri-Kansas game would go to the Big 12 title game with a chance to play for the national championship at stake.

The Tigers, who entered the season unranked, took care of their business, handing Kansas its first loss of the season, 36-28.

LSU also went down, losing in triple overtime 50-48 to Arkansas on Friday, and that opened up a spot for the Mountaineers.

West Virginia grabbed it emphatically with a 66-21 victory against Connecticut to clinch the Big East title and a BCS bid. The Mountaineers were ranked No. 3 in the preseason poll, but lost in late September 21-13 at South Florida. White injured his thigh against the Bulls and didn't finish the game.

Neither West Virginia nor Missouri has ever won a national title.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me